Shirtless Putin Takes Icy Dip in Russian Lake
Russian president immerses himself in ice water to celebrate Christian holiday of Epiphany
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 19, 2018 11:36 AM CST
Russian President Vladimir Putin bathes in ice-cold water on Epiphany on Lake Seliger in the village of Svetlitsa, Russia, on Friday.   (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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(Newser) – Vladimir Putin is baring his chest in public again. The Russian president took a dip in icy lake waters to celebrate Epiphany, a major holiday in Orthodox Christianity marking the baptism of Jesus. Russian television stations showed the 65-year-old Putin approaching a hole cut in the ice on Lake Seliger in northwestern Russia, then dunking himself in and crossing himself, per the AP.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the president had dipped in icy waters on Epiphany before, but Friday marked the first time he publicly did so. In Orthodox tradition, water blessed by a priest during Epiphany week is considered holy and pure, and believers attribute healing powers to it. Authorities set up bathing sites for believers all over Russia, including some areas in Siberia where temperatures dipped below minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

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